Twenty seven is a crossroad; a point where you have to make a choice. Where you have to decide what to hold on to, and what to let go of. What to keep pursuing, and what to settle for. It’s a conclusion; that some things will never change, and plot your next course of action.
Twenty seven is exhaustion; a state where you’re done feeding energy into things that are draining it. It’s the tipping point, and you have no more quarters to give. It’s the height of tolerance, where you’ve taken all you can take, and decide to do something about it.
Twenty seven is invisibility; being a literal ghost with the power to effect change without being seen. It’s a conundrum; when you’re able to do so much without leaving your own mark, and you’re not sure if that’s a good or bad thing.
Twenty seven is freedom; choosing who or what you’re obligated to. It’s a temptation; to become the first kite that flew high without a string. Could the thought of devotion to another outweigh the addiction of solitude enjoyed for so long?
Twenty seven is awkward; when you realize all your faults and weaknesses have somehow had a hand in bringing you here; with every dodge, reluctance and wall put up carving a path to the greatness being experienced. It’s weird, when you’re not sure on whether to work on them, or own them, because they have made you who you are.
Twenty seven is boarding up windows for hurricanes. Twenty seven is coming out to play when the sun’s out. Twenty seven is lowering one wall and putting up three.
Twenty seven is me.
I dreamt I stood on a hill that I wished was a mountain
To look back on all my accomplishments
Well they must have been small because I couldn’t seem to find them
So I took a leap off of the precipice
The Classic Crime – Phoenix
I like such bands as The Classic Crime because their lyrics are so beautifully written that you are forced to sort of meditate upon them – owning them, and at one point they begin to make some eerie form of sense. Because you find out it’s what your heart has been screaming all this time but never really had the words to give it form.
For those who work out, or have worked out, you know of the legend of ‘the never moving watch’. Particularly if you haven’t worked out in a while or.. ever. You start all fired up, and when the lungs begin banging your chest as if they want to escape you glance at your stopwatch to see how much time you’ve put in; only to find it’s been barely two minutes. Huh? *pant pant*
I had such a moment recently (well, a little over a month ago; this post’s kinda dated), when I had put in so much work; not just ‘work work-wise’ (I do websites btw), but also socially and other areas of life that are easily forgotten by an INFP, and then looking back, I couldn’t really point to a major accomplishment or something that’s worth a pat on the back. I felt like I was moving mountains and navigating huge storms. But as Matt McDonald puts it, as he stood on that hill looking at his accomplishments they seemed pretty insignificant. What a kick in the nuts.
At that point you have to make a decision: you either decide it’s not worth it and give up, or you double (and I seriously mean double) your efforts and push on. With the first option you get to rest and continue as normal. And that’s okay, if you’re okay with normal. But more and more I’m beginning to be aware of the tremendous amount of effort it requires to get to goals set. That’s the part these ‘motivational speakers’ leave out, or if they don’t they don’t emphasize it enough. They’ll tell you ‘go on you can do it’! Then maybe slide a little ‘you have to work for it’ then continue with an even louder ‘YOU CAN DO IT!’ Every breakthrough requires a significant amount of force.
But the thing with ‘breaking through’ is that you don’t really know what’s on the other side. One plus one will always equal two, but that’s not necessarily how life works. From experience you can do everything right and in the end still fall short, whereas someone else will skimp through a number of stages and get better results than you. So I’ll conclude that you just don’t really know whether your efforts will be rewarded, or get thrown back in your face.
So there you are, standing on the cliff thinking of whether to jump, not knowing if your wings will work, or if they work, how far they can carry you, or if they’re actually a strong pair, whether they’ll take you to the place you’ve always wanted. There a lot of things at play, mainly because once you jump off there’s no rewind button, no going back.
But there’s more….
A precipice is pretty high, so frighteningly high that if you arrived at that point then you arrived with good reason. Maybe you’re a thrill seeker. Maybe you want to start being a thrill seeker. Or maybe you’re just done with being the Mayor of Mediocre Town and are looking for literally anything else, better or worse. A hint of desperation but with dignity intact. Because unlike the rest in Mediocre Town, you have the guts to look for something different.
What do you do?
FYI I jumped; probably one more to add to my collection of dumb moves, but looks like I’m learning how to fly. And when you’re falling, you learn to fly pretty fast.
The most annoying part of life is time. Not that in itself it’s a nuisance but the fact that you can’t suspend it for a while makes it feels like you’re always rushing; or being rushed , even for the smallest insignificant things. Like menu choices or what socks to wear. Life is a constant stream of events marked by time, one following the other in glorious reluctance, giving the illusion of some form of progress at the very least. Is it possible to put your life on hold? Seems so; of course that depends on how you define [your] life.
I’m probably not the first man alive to put off plans for the sake of other people. That’s the most general explanation of ‘putting your life on hold’, and is more perceivable. This is known. One of two other form of pausing your life is a subtle form of self sabotage; constantly (or occasionally) getting in your own way, even with good reason. It took a week of me powering through numerous obstacles to see through a plan I was determined to not renege on; to realize how easy it is to get in my own way just because I feel either the time isn’t right, or the people involved aren’t. At times there are a plethora of reasons I could decide not to do something, even if I feel it right in my gut. Sounds like a ‘comfort zone’ thing but I’ve been out of my comfort zone for a while now. Or comfort zone has become such a cliche it doesn’t mean anything anymore.
At times I wish I wasn’t so ridiculously meticulous, especially at making plans, because with that much detail and ‘dedication’ it becomes very easy to write off plans when things go awry. And I have killed a good number of plans just because things began changing more than I wanted to. Surprisingly, if the plan is for someone else then I don’t mind moving mountains. But when it comes to my own it’s a whole different story. At one point I was asking myself is it just my plans that fumble or, if at all, just bundle themselves over the finish line? Is it some form of ill fate to come up with really good plans and fail miserably at the execution? The saying ‘best laid plans’ had actually become like a mantra, because of how many plans were falling on their heads.
Nothing teaches you the unpredictability of life like the life of a freelancer. You draw up a plan, the client doesn’t want it, you do another, the client agrees, payment is delayed, meaning your payments get delayed; things can go wrong very quickly without some contingencies in place. And this lesson isn’t really a great one particularly for someone who has a knack for predicting things and thrives in stability. Or maybe I’m just not as good as predicting or reading situations as I think.
I remember that week everything around me was just screaming ‘RENEGE! RENEGE!’. But I think something just snapped. Screw the ‘I love it when a plan comes together’ Hannibal tagline. I think I was just done with this perfectionist planning syndrome or whatever. Sitting down, I had a stark realization; the time will never always be right, the situations will never always be ideal and there will always be the risk of failure. Basically, it boils down to this:
How badly do you want this?
What are you so afraid of?
Looking at the monster that has its finger on the pause button, I only see three faces. Fear, perfectionism and nonchalance. But once fear is dealt with the rest seem to disappear.
Even with a brick wall there are a number of ways to get round it. The first is to go through it; it hurts, it’s messy, but it gets done. The second is to climb it. Difficult, sweaty, less painful than going through but definitely longer. The third, which I just unlocked recently, is simply to find another route. There’s always another way.
Thinking about it now, it seems like the people who excel at this game of life aren’t the ones with the perfect plans or situations, but it’s the ones who turn really crappy situations to really great ones.
No, I’m not a lone wolf. Wolves aren’t soft and cuddly. Wolves don’t have big and lumbering figures that take three years to make a turn. They’re agile, they’re swift, decisive, always going in for the kill. At least I’d like to think so; if not the better. Oh no, I’m not a wolf. Maybe a bear. Thick. Warm. Makes porridge for the family. Protective. Likes honey. Yeah, something like a bear alright. Would make an excellent coat.
Thing with bears though; they have really thick fur, braving even the longest of winters. That fur isn’t easy to sink teeth into. Or claws. It would take a great deal for a wolf to bring a bear down. A lone wolf surely can’t take the bear. That’s why he brings friends.
But what did the bear ever do. I’m guessing all the guy did was become extra clingly to a pot of honey. Or probably the wolves weren’t even targeting the bear. They were just out looking for something to chew on and this “monster” decides it isn’t having any of it. For some reason, the bear decides that those “creatures” are its responsibility, and are worth protecting?
This isn’t the first time the bear is taking a last stand. He probably is the patron saint of the last stand. He’s used to it by now. He knows it’s gonna sting. He knows it may not end well. But he plants those trees he calls feet into the ground; and with his most excellent Gandalf impression takes all the punishment and holds that line. No wolf gets past here. Not on his watch.
During battle, the single thought in a soldier’s head is the difference between life and death. Between going home with decorated clad or in a body bag. I’d sure like to know what spurs the bear on. What’s keeps his resolve strong. What makes every scratch, swipe and bite worth it.
Is it that the others get to safety and and live happily ever after? No that can’t be it; they probably aren’t even concerned about him, and may never see him again. Is it the honey pot he’s left at home or the zingy feeling of the snow nursing his wounds with a slight yet addictive sting? Maybe. But I think it’s something more. I think the bear knows the strongest and most fragile force on the planet, and is ready to die if it means he has to protect it. And that force is nothing other than hope.
Hope for a new tomorrow, hope for a better tomorrow. Hope that this is not the end. Hope that life suck, just for now. Without hope we’re already dead; we’re circling the drain. But with hope, with even the smallest bit of hope, strength is born. Hope is that light guiding you out of the tunnel, without it you’re better off in a hole.
The thing with lone wolves is that they go into hiding when injured. Too proud to show weakness. It matters how others see them. But not bears. There’s no time for a bear to hide. There’s too much at stake. If they’re breathing they’re dancing with the wolves. They’ll stop when they’re dead.
But does the bear have hope then? Wait, who protects the bear’s hope?
This isn’t about the bear.
Obligatory Birthday Post.
I like how when nVidia releases a graphics card some have the tag ‘Ti’. I don’t even know what it means but a GTX 1080 Ti has a significant performance boost over the GTX 1080 even though they essentially have the same model number. My guess is that the Ti is what the 1080 was supposed to be had they had more time to work on it but PCMR wouldn’t have any of it. So the 1080 is a good, solid card but the Ti is the ‘ascended’ version.
Likewise, because of how the past year has gone I feel it would be better to call this my 25-Ti’th year rather than the 26th. Actually this post would have been labelled ‘Twenty Six’ had I written it on my birthday but after something happened (which I will NOT go into details here, at least for now) I decided to add Ti to previous page.
Not because the previous year of my life totally blew. It was actually one of my best yet. I’m getting a hang of this freelance thing, I put down my foot more often (in spite of my INFP nature wanting to sacrifice more than I should) and I can now converse properly on phone without zoning out, at least for 5 minutes. Of course they are many other things; things have been smooth, manageable and relatively stress free. Even unpaid invoiced don’t frustrate me as much.
But see that’s the problem. You get too comfortable you start coasting. You start coasting you become complacent. You become complacent you remain where you are. The weird thing with this kind of ‘coasting’ is that you don’t even realize it. After all, you’re doing work, you’re pursuing clients; you’re not just letting life pass by. “I’m doing my part, I’m okay.” That’s dangerous. That’s selfish. And more importantly, that’s a far cry from God’s Will.
I’d never really thought about it till last Sunday, when the weirdest thing happened. Have you ever had a full conversation with some that lasted only 1 second? I did. I usually tell people that I can look into someone’s eyes and hear what they are saying regardless of the word coming out of their mouths, or even when they aren’t speaking. But the way the one on Sunday happened I’m still recovering from it.
It’s probably not a good idea to give details of this person (at this stage anyway) but it’s someone I’ve come to respect and have taken an interest in. It was just in passing but one look into this person’s eyes and I was suddenly so aware of how ‘comfortable’ I was. How I was limiting myself. How I wouldn’t push myself if I was okay with what I had.
Is that all? Is this what ‘the great Juniboy’ amounts to?
Probably the greatest turning point in my life was when I finally understood how much God loved me, regardless of my actions. Even if I decided to close up shop and live under a bridge He wouldn’t love me less. But what I had lost sight of was the other people I should be helping, the others I should be blessing, the others that are looking up to me. This isn’t a need to please others. Nor is it peer pressure. In fact I’m actually proud of my ‘peer pressure’-less life. But how unfortunate would it be if you were to die with someone’s miracle in your soul? How awful would it be if I had the solution to World Hunger and I just decided to coast; after all life is great, right? How scary. How terrifying.
So my 25 year was great. I did help out some guys. I did in my small way cause some significant impact. Just like the GTX 1080, which is a great card; a high end graphics churning monster. But it isn’t a Ti, that just churns better, and is the 1080’s true form. One look into this person’s eyes and the message was clear:
Life isn’t just about you anymore.
Weirdly though I think it’s only babies that think everything’s only about them. They don’t care if you just went to sleep after a long day; if he/she wants attention you will respond.
I probably met an angel on Sunday. Oh well.
The lyrics to the song Beautiful Thing by Code of Ethics
What was it like to spend a cold and sleepless night
Praying, take this cup from me
Please don’t let it be
There under star filled skys, the yellow glow of fireflies
Was the shadow of a friend
Betrayal would bring the end
For a second did You want to run
Knowing all the shame that was about to come
To the sinless one
A mother’s son
And how could it be, still so young at thirty three
Without protest without sound
Heavens love came down
The cross, the nails, the Savior’s crown
What a beautiful thing to do
The way you laid Your body down
Was so beautiful
And when that soldier pierced Your side
It was a beautiful thing to do
Such an ugly way to die, but so beautiful
Did you feel the evil, in the heart of everyone
As they cursed and they accused
Ah, the court was so amused
I bet it broke Your heart and made You cry
When one by one You heard Your friends deny
They ever knew You, they ever knew You
The cross, the nails, the savior’s crown
What a beautiful thing to do
The way You laid your body down, was so beautiful
And when that soldier pierced Your side
It was a beautiful thing to do
Part three of the Battle Series:
Resolve is one of those weird qualities that can never really be measured until the time when you have to show it. You can’t use words to express it; people lie all the time. And even if they were telling the truth at the time, circumstances change rapidly in battle and at that particular point nobody cares about what you said. Actions can though, but only actions performed when you’re backed up against a wall.
I’d like to think of resolve as determination’s bigger, meaner and more badass sibling. Determination conotes working towards something with some form of discipline or diligence, while resolve is something already ‘worked towards’. Determination’s the journey, resolve is the end game. Because in battle things are there and there; there’s no more learning, no more trying harder next time, no more keep at it. In battle you either have it or you don’t.
Picture two soldiers in their prime; equally trained, of similar skill level and of equal physical strength. Who will triumph? What determines the winner?
Anyone who’s been an activity that exerts your body more than normal can attest to the fact that there’s a point you reach where your body just wont move; consequently at this point skill doesn’t really matter. Your vision is blurry, you can’t even stand properly. The point where all the factors are at 0; the baseline. That baseline is resolve. Like a default setting; what you’re really made of. At that point, at that decisive point in battle, the one with more solid resolve will never fall under the blow of the one with less.
Note the word ‘solid’ because resolve is not a building that goes higher and higher. It’s a base you just keep compacting and compacting.
Can resolve be strengthened? I don’t know. But highly unlikely. You can never really train for the nastiness of battle. But the things you see and have to do, those things ‘harden you’ and that forms your baseline, your resolve. Yes, resolve is just a pretty word for stubbornness.
Determination is “I know what I need to do and I’m diligently working towards it.” Resolve is “I don’t care what I have to do. Imma do it anyway. What choice do I have?”
Right so the obligatory end of year post.
This year was the year I decided to cast aside all pretending and search for answers to questions I’ve had pretty much all my life, but have never been answered. Why this year? Because this was the year that the ‘independent’ part of life was to begin. So you can’t just get by with ‘oh it will work out’ without knowing exactly how or , ‘just do it, if it works for them then it will work for you’, without knowing why. It was the year I decided to put a stop to pretty words of of reassurance and motivation, without having a proper way forward.
Weird thing though, I’m an INFP. We’re supposed to be the dreamy type with incredible ideals without thinking too much about how it’s going to work. So trying to trim these dreams down to only what seems logical just seems.. ‘un-me’. But fantasies had to stop. I had questions and I was finally demanding answers, no matter how late (relative) it may seem.
First off, religion. I am a born again Christian, and I do believe in Jesus. I have been active in church for as long as I remember. But it reached a point where just doing a set of things and ‘hoping for the best’ wasn’t cutting. This part is hard to explain but I’ll take you through all my reasoning.
“We are God’s creation. We are His children. So why do we have to do all these things just to get His attention? If an earthly father did the same wouldn’t we call him wicked? ” ” I was taught that prayer was talking to God, but it does seem that most of prayer time is yelling at Him about what we don’t want the Devil or our enemies to do.Weird conversation huh.” “God doesn’t listen to sinners; so how do people repent?” “Why exactly did Jesus come if the ‘ideal’ way of having a relationship with God is the same as before He came? Is the name of Jesus just a punctuation in prayer? Was he just to forgive our sins? He came just for that? REALLY?” “So I guess you other struggle without Christ or struggle to leave up to this unreal expectations the Bible has. Wait, only that not every one without Christ appears to be struggling.. so why I’m in this anyway?? ‘If he dies he’ll go to hell but you wont’ how is that even an answer ?” And finally this massive one. “God is my Father, I don’t deny that. Why I’m I so reliant on other people (no matter how close they are to Him) to hear what he’s saying about me? If the only way I had to communicate with my earthy father was through his senior most assistant or best friend, wouldn’t that make make him a very questionable figure?”
As I was spiraling out of control, thinking what’t the point of it all, I stumbled on this Bible teacher; well, not stumbled upon but his name had been at the back of my mind for quite a while but never really gave it much attention. Particularly because most of the pastors are basically the same (with the exception of a few); and it doesn’t help when you know a sizeable chunk of what they do when others aren’t seeing. Anyway, he’s called Andrew Wommack and from the first teaching of his I could tell that this was exactly what I was looking for, answers!
You see others had ‘answers’ but their answers were either of their own knowledge or scriptures taken completely out of context. Like I used to ask, ‘which kind goes not out but by prayer and fasting?’ and the answer I would get was that ‘ some specific demons or really big diseases or situations’ only that you can’t justify that through the Bible. Then to wrap it up they throw in the ‘whatsoever he tells you to do, do it’. Man.. Anyway back to answers (btw he did answer this question, and the answer was right there. the kind was unbelief lol). This Andrew guy explained scripture so well and plainly that I felt I had been cheated my entire life!
“Why are we doing these things to get His attention?” We have his attention! That’s why Jesus came! “Okay that still doesn’t explain all these stuff we have to do in order for God to bless us”. But He’s already blessed us! “These are great things you’re saying, but if I’ve already been blessed then why can’t I see it? ” Well, if I ask you for something that you have already given me, what would your response be like? Wow is that why I think God is silent?
That’s just a tip of the iceberg we’re talking major major answers and revelations; even what’s more boggling is that the answers are from scriptures I’ve read so many times!
Wow, so WordPress tells me those are round 825 words; clearly I had a lot to say about that because the basis of peace starts from the spirit. And with that guy’s teachings, along with a few others I picked along the way, I’ve been completely transformed. Answers I’ve been looking for for 10 years I found in 12 months. Amazing. I can assuredly say I’m ‘A Christian ‘(one who’s in a relationship with God after reconciliation by Jesus) and not ‘Christian’ (just going through the norms and traditions, just because you have to).
That was the unlearning part. Now for the tryharding. Yes, that’s a word.
I started my business in April. Everything was going fairly well; I had a few clients under my belt and money was flowing. Well, until money stopped in September. See this was about the time I had planned to move out, IF the cash flow was constant. So frustration was building, and with frustration comes desperation. I remember chasing an invoice so hard I must have actually wreaked of desperation. And it was from a relative. Something just didn’t fit.
Let me just say at this point that battles are lost when one side becomes desperate. And people forget about God and what He’s doing just when He’s ‘outdone’ himself. I was doing great work and cheques were coming in and I was like, yes, this is it. I’m doing it. I gave God thanks and moved on. So I was really shocked when my cashflow completely stopped and even a relative wouldn’t want to pay a measly $100 for work done.
God wasn’t silent; He’d actually been speaking and I was ignoring. And as I almost had it (again LOL) with this business life, I had a teaching by Andrew (surprise) entitled an excellent spirit. Then another followed (can’t remember the name because they gelled so well) that made me ask myself, who really is my source? God or people? Then I realized that I was being frustrated because I saw people as my source and not God. And it’s veery easy to do because you can clearly see someone writing a check and .. well.. I’ve never like… seen God so.. It can get tricky.
So. I decided you know what, every job I do will be as unto God and I will wait for His reward. And as weird as it may seem, that was the last invoice I chased. Cash flow resumed and it’s now people reminding me that they want to finish payments. I don’t know does that happen? Never seen it before lol!
2016 has been a great experience. I’ve heard to unlearn a ton (basically 90% of what I knew as a Christian) and live as a human ‘being’ not a human ‘doing’, as well as approaching God not based on what I have done but by what Jesus has done for me; my head is just that much clearer and spirit is at peace. I finally have this freelance thing going well, and I’m not forcing stuff and just flowing in God’s grace.
As I close in what seems to be my longest post ever (WOW), I’d like to thank Gilmore Girls for coming back and Beauden Barrett for being.. Beauden Barrett.
My heart still weeps for Aleppo. I hope peace prevails next year.
Shoutouts to Matt McDonald, Lacey Sturm and Gungor for amazing music this year.
I feel I’m forgetting something; but if you’ve read this far grab yourself a cookie. I didn’t even proofread xD
Happy New Year !